Wednesday, March 17, 2010

17:: extended

I have been very blessed to have three successful nursing experiences.  My mom exclusively breastfed four children.  I don't even think she ever owned a pump.  I remember her taking to me about hand-expression into a cup or jar on the rare occassion she left a baby.  Clearly, her example had a big influence on me.

I read up and studied up on breastfeeding while I was pregnant with Miss Rose.  I approached it with the mentality that failure was not an option.  Even though I had three c-sections, nursing as soon as possible was a priority for me.  I felt extrememly drowsy and nausous after having Miss Rose.  It was a struggle to stay awake, but as soon as I reached recovery and they brought me the baby, I got her to latch on.  Prior to that the nurse was concerned that Miss Rose was breathing too rapidly.  But once they brought her to me and she nursed, she calmed down and her breathing pattern was normal.  Baby just wanted her mama!

I had been awake over 24 hours by the time Gracie was born and there was trauma associated with her birth.  Bean and I were so exhausted and fatigued.  But still, nursing was a priority.  Lily's birth was much more relaxed and the whole experience was actually quite enjoyable.  She nursed great right away as well.

Pumping and working...well that's a whole other post!

Miss Rose and Gracie weaned around 13 months.  It was a mutual decision in some ways.  I felt good about nursing them for over a year and they didn't protest weaning at all.  We did it slowly, so by 13 months there was just one feeding left to cut out.  It was always bittersweet as I enjoy the nursing relationship, but there is also some freedom from not nursing any longer.

Lily is coming up on 14 months now, and still nurses morning and night.  On the days I am home, she often nurses midday also.  I have no trouble admitting, I am very sentimental about ending my nursing days.  This is the last baby, my last opportunity for this special bond.

While Lily still seems to enjoy nursing and gets plenty of milk, she is easily distracted.  She is a fast nurser and doesn't really linger.  I never really nursed my babies to sleep; they always nursed upon waking, except for right before bed.  I think this hurts the extended nursing relationship a bit.  Lily is accustomed to nursing for nutrition first and comfort is a distant second it seems.

I think that Lily would pretty easily wean at this point.  But I'm not ready.  Yet, the nursing experience is not as sweet and tender as it once was.  I know that the nutritions she's getting from breastmilk is probably worth it.  I don't necessarily see us going past 18 months, unless she really resists weaning, but I'm just not sure how to judge if it's time now or if I should continue.

What do you think?  If you breastfed past 12 months, what was your experience like?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comment! I always love getting feedback on my posts.